The Congressional Data Challenge asked participants to use legislative data sourced from Congress.gov and other platforms to develop digital projects that analyze, interpret or share congressional data in user-friendly ways. Open to the general public and participants of all ages, the Challenge entries were judged on the basis of usefulness, creativity and design.
Daniel’s submission — a mobile app called “Dealmaker” — shows levels of legislative collaboration in Congress using visualizations organized by party, geography and individual members. In building Dealmaker, Daniel consulted with History teacher Stefan Stawnychy on the usefulness and relevance of his data, and Visual Arts teacher Jesse Pasca on the app’s design and readability.
“The geographic focus and the mobile accessibility of the application provide a better understanding of partisanship to people,” said Paul Ford, a journalist, programmer and co-founder of Postlight, a digital product studio in New York City, and judge for the Congressional Data Challenge. “The visualizations were solid and based on real data.”
The class is over, final exam passed, now what to do with that expensive textbook you’ll never need to use again? Wrestling firsthand with this problem, Theodora ’19 came up with a solution that would not only provide the ability to buy and sell used textbooks for Friends Seminary students, but would also be an important move toward environmental sustainability.
The notion of buying back and re-selling textbooks is not new — college bookstores have been doing it forever. Tailoring the idea to Friends Seminary’s unique needs would require an enormous amount of creativity and innovation. Theodora enlisted the help of classmates Cosmo ’19 for his business acumen and Daniel ’19 for his technical prowess; Together they have created the Friends Seminary Textbook Exchange.
Available here in the Apple App Store, the Exchange operates as a facilitator for book transactions between students. Students can use the app to list their books for sale or to purchase used books from another student. Sellers set the price, but transactions happen outside of the app. Once connected, the buying and selling students can arrange for a personal exchange of book and payment. As an added convenience, the group will operate a “bookstore.” Sellers can drop off books at a table in the Main Lobby, and buyers can pick them up later for cash. The money will then be given to the seller — transaction complete!
The group has collaborated for several months as a team to work out the logistics of the exchange process, meeting with faculty and administration to ensure a successful launch. The task of coding the app was undertaken by Daniel, a self-taught iOS programmer who has been coding since he was in fifth grade. (Check out Daniel’s other iOS apps by visiting the App Store here.)
In taking on this project, Theodora, Cosmo and Daniel have put the Friends Seminary mission into action. The Friends Seminary Textbook Exchange provides greater equality by addressing the high cost of textbooks; it fosters community by connecting students in a mutually beneficial arrangement; and it supports the School’s focus on environmental sustainability by reducing the number of new textbooks used by Friends students.
The Center for Peace, Equity and Justice at Friends Seminary is pleased to announce the academic theme for the 2018-2019 school year: American Landscape: Explore, Engage, Transform. Myriad problems threaten to overwhelm our country precisely at the moment it has become unimaginable that American politics as we know it will deliver the needed responses. The plainest truth is that conditions of life in America have deteriorated across a broad front, posing a daunting array of challenges to the well-being of our people and planet––from mass incarceration, gun violence, and systemic poverty, to environmental degradation and the mismanagement of our planet’s natural resources. Broken systems and flawed practices have stoked racial tensions, thwarted educational equity, and compromised the rights of citizens to shelter and sustenance.
Through annual large-scale programs, like Peace Week and the all-school Day of Service, as well as division-specific ones, such as the Upper School Day of Concern and community periods in Lower and Middle Schools, we will examine these issues from multiple perspectives and meet with thought leaders who are seeking solutions to challenges faced by our nation. The approach will focus on hope for a better tomorrow—one that fosters a concern for people, place, and planet. Faculty are encouraged to partner with CPEJ staff to explore curricular and co-curricular connections to this theme. As it explores both challenges and solutions, the community will be invited to consider what guidance Quaker testimonies and practices may offer us on this journey.
The US ChoreoLab class joined forces with Despina Stamos of the Modern Dance Awareness Society to take part in the dance project, passTRESpass 2018 proximity. passTRESspass, which started in 2007, is a roving, interactive movement installation addressing questions of migration, home and borders. Despina travels from NYC to Athens, Greece to work with refugees in a governed refugee-squat in Athens, giving them the opportunity to process and share their experiences through dance.
The dances were performed in Greece and the Meetinghouse simultaneously and broadcast via Skype in the Meetinghouse for approximately 200 students ranging from K-8. It was a moving experience for both the audience and dancers in both countries.
About the cast: Abdoul/Jaki is 29 years old. He began dancing with passTRESspass in 2009. Jamila, 51, and Mina, 16, from Iran began dancing with them in 2016. Assad 17, and Fatimeh 30, from Kabul and Magda 37, from Iraq, all joined the group this year.
Fatimeh lives in a refugee camp with her two young boys and travels 3 hours by bus to rehearse with the group. The 11 children in the group range in age from 4-13, from Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran and Pakistan. They live with their families at City Plaza which will close at the end of July. Presently, they are looking homes to relocate to in Athens.